Mutare Board & Paper Mills is a paper making operation based in the Eastern part of the Country and started manufacturing paper board in 1953. Production of newsprint started in 1962. Since then, the Company has remained the sole producer of newsprint products in Zimbabwe. MBPM enjoys presence, not only in Zimbabwe but in the SADC & COMESA regions, serving countries such as Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa and the DRC. Its newsprint and board products find application in the printing, publishing, scholastic, packaging & construction industries.
With a workforce of about 660, Mutare Board and Paper Mills significantly contributes to Zimbabwe’s employment capital. The factory is located in the Eastern Highlands, where the temperate climate is ideal for growing the exotic pine trees which provide the basic raw material for the paper machines.
The Mill has 2 production lines, where board and newsprint are made. The combined capacity of the plant is approximately 30,000t per year. The board side of the operation derives its raw material from National Waste Collections, as it utilizes secondary fibre. The Mill and Estates are energy intensive (coal, fuel and electricity) as well as import reliant, making the need for exports paramount.
The paper making process starts at the MBPM estates where pine trees are sustainably grown and harvested after approximately 14years. The timber is debarked, cut to smaller log bolts and then mechanical pulped. The product of this process is known as mechanical ground pulp, which then undergoes extensive cleaning prior to blending with other paper making ingredients.
The ground pulp is blended with approximately 20% of imported chemical pulp and other chemical additives (dyes, wet strength agents, retention aids) which assist the paper making process as well as improve the mechanical and appearance properties of the final product.
The blended pulp is then goes through to the forming machine where the stock is applied onto a porous synthetic fabric. A wet sheet of paper forms the water accompanying the stock drains through, leaving the fibres in top of the fabric. The wet paper sheet undergoes successive drying operations, namely vacuum assisted draining, mechanical pressing and finally evaporation facilitated by passing the paper sheet over steam heated cylinders to give a final product with a moisture level of 8-10%. The sheet is smoothened by passing it through a calendar stack, and then wound into jumbo reels. These reels are subsequently processed into reels and sheets according to customer requirements.
The newsprint machine is able to manufacture the product from 48 gsm to 120gsm according to customer’s requirements. The range includes tinted products in addition to the popular white grades.
Waste paper collected both locally and from neighboring countries, serves as the main raw material for paper board manufacture.
Different grades of waste paper are blended according to different product formulation requirements. The blended waste paper is then pulped, and passed through several cleaning stages in order to remove the numerous undesirable impurities that come with the waste paper. Similar to the stages described for the newsprint machine, the wet fibre mat undergoes drying through a battery of mechanical presses, followed by evaporation when the paper is passed over steam-heated cylinders. The board is then dried to 8 – 10 % moisture level, after which it passes through a calendar to ensure a smooth paper finish. The board is thereafter wound into jumbo reels, from which customer specific reels and sheets are processed. Quality tests and inspections are carried out though out the manufacturing process at all intermediate stages to ensure that product conforms to quality standards.
This machine is able to produce board of grades that range from 180mic to 1800mic. These products include natural chip, coverboards, manilla and lined grades for the converting and stationery markets.
- Publishing industry
- Commercial printers
- Paper merchants
- Construction industry
- Packaging industry